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This article was originally published to Zelda Informer on December 26th, 2012. Following our recent piece, "Piracy is Never Justified," by Nathanial Rumphol-Janc, I believe this is an appropriate time to bring this article back to light. This article is intended to serve neither as a rebuttal nor expansion to "Piracy is Never Justified," but rather an exploration and alternate viewpoint of this touchy issue.

Since the beginning of civilization, one form or another of piracy has been a pressing concern. Though piracy in modern times has, in most cases, outgrown cannonballs and rotting teeth, it’s as threatening an act as ever. This is perhaps due to the coevolution of the crime and those who commit it.

When we think of the term “piracy” in its modern sense, we tend to think of the morally reprehensible. Media moguls spent years combatting piracy by conjuring up disheveled images of thugs and depictions of malevolence, along with the line “You wouldn’t steal a car,” but this sort of propaganda couldn’t be farther from the truth. No longer is piracy an act of devestation performed only by the wicked, but as piracy’s negative outcome has weakened, its rates have proportionally skyrocketed. Nearly everyone in the digital world, even the most righteous, has pirated something at some point in their lives, be it a movie, a song, or in our case, a video game.

Head past the jump to keep reading!

A source credited with previously leaking information about Sonic Generations has made the claim that the next entry in Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog franchise will be called Sonic Excursion. It is also stated that the game will be releasing on all major platforms, except for the PSvita, in November 2013. This includes the new Xbox, which the source claims will entitled "Xbox Infinite."

Excursion will supposedly feature a level called "Shattered Heights." During this level, Sonic and Tails will destroy large buildings in a New york-style city while the citizens look on in terror. Sonic and Tails are also said to communicate mid-level in a fashion which sounds similar to Kid Icarus: Uprising. On the subject of Sonic's pals, Excursion will apparently include Sonic, Tails, Eggman, Knuckles, and Amy Rose. Little is mentioned about the plot of the game other than that there will be a magical necklace of some kind.

On the gameplay front, the developers are trying to make a Sonic Generations that played like the Genesis titles. Emblems will also be making their return, and levels will feature S-Rank missions, '“Collect all Red Ring” missions, and side missions specific to each character.

Do you want to see the release of Sonic Excursion this fall?

We've seen some interesting, if not wholly distasteful, trends in the industry the last 5 years. We have seen day one DLC (which most agree is silly), on disc DLC (again, locking out content you technically already paid for), DRM (attempting to prevent pirate players from playing), and naturally some always-online talk (which most agree is a silly concept). All of this is done mostly because of one simple factor: People pirate games... and they pirate a lot of them. While it's most rampant on PC's, consoles themselves are not inherently left out of the equation.

Personally, I can't deny that I have never pirated a game. I have, just once, and at the time I felt my reasoning was justified. It was a game lacking a demo, and I felt entitled to "try before I buy". To many pirates, this is a logical excuse we use to reason with our own self morals. Of course, this is but one of the reasons pirates have for stealing games. The problem with every excuse out there becomes the fact that none of them actually truly morally justify stealing a game.

Jim Sterling hits another home run this week, talking about the real issues in the industry, specifically targeting sexism. It's a hard topic to discuss, but it's something he covers in a rather brilliant way. The best part is the way it's explained is actually something we can apply to several situations in the gaming media and fan bases. Rational discussion. It seems so simple to just talk about something, but in so many cases all of us go a bit overboard. We end up slinging mud at each other and ultimately not solving a damn thing.

I admit that my writing has not always been the best. I've been highly opinionated at times without much rational behind my thoughts outside of "this is my opinion so deal with it". It's a nasty cycle I hope to personally improve upon as time goes on. I want to be the best journalist I can, while still providing you thought provoking editorials and opinions that spurn real discussion instead of hate slander and mudslinging. What are your thoughts on Jim's discussion this week?

Ahh Watch Dogs. You are one of the year's most anticipated titles and you happen to be an all new IP at the same time, something the industry seems to think isn't possible. There was apparently a big press event held for this game in Europe, and assuredly we will likely get some gameplay footage later today. That being said, above we have a trailer, which hasn't officially been released just yet (but will be shortly).

Inside, we have some images of some pre-order bonuses, special editions, and of course the release date.

We all know Michael Pachter. He lives in infamy here at Gamnesia, but he occasionally has something smart to say concerning the industry.

In this week's edition of the Pach-Attack!, the analyst discusses the possibility of PS3 and 360 trophies and Gamerscores being transferred to Sony and Microsoft's new consoles. The answer is a tad strange. Pachter states Microsoft will allow the achievements to move to the 720, but his answer for Sony is interesting.

Pachter states Sony screwed up by making PSN a free service and that gamers now feel entitled to online capabilities for no cost. Sony created PlayStation Plus to make up for the mistake. Pachter states PSN will get a full revamp with the incoming PS4, and Sony will continue to perform a free version of the service and a paid version that comes with many perks, such as the ability to carry over your PS3 trophies.

Pachter also talked about Montreal's endless amount of video game studios, pointing to Quebec's government giving out tax credits. Ontario is also starting to offer the same bonuses, which is why developers are starting to open in Toronto.

Pachter's stance on PSN caught me by surprise, but it makes sense. I hate paying for online services. It's the sole reason I refuse to buy an Xbox 360. However, PlayStation Plus is a great deal, with dozens of free games offered every year. If Sony continued the service into PS4 and gave it even more extras, I'd gladly pay fifty dollars a year.

What do you think about Pachter's prediction on Gamerscores? Did you notice he didn't say "Nintendo" once this week? Sound off in the comments.

A little over a week ago, a new game entitled The Evil Within was announced by Shinji Mikami, founder of the Resident Evil franchise. The Evil Within, being developed by Tango Gameworks and being published by Bethesda, is scheduled to be released on Xbox 360, PlayStation3, PC, and next generation consoles, and promises to be a true survival horror experience. Mikami's view on the current state of the survival horror genre, according to a recent interview, is that it has become far too action packed, and he cites "Having the player pick up the controller and being genuinely able to say ‘Wow, I haven’t played a game this scary in ages!" as one of his primary inspirations for creating The Evil Within.

Just the other day a few new screenshots for the game surfaced, and they can be viewed after the jump, alongside the previous batch of screenshots.

So what do you think, will the creator of what many would consider to be the first ever survival horror franchise, Resident Evil, manage to provide us with a true survival horror experience?

Earlier today, a user on NeoGAF dropped this bit of interesting news related to the highly anticipated Watch Dogs, from publisher and developer, Ubisoft. As has become common practice among triple A titles in recent years, Watch Dogs will have a special edition with some additional content, namely an extra single player mission and the ability to attain the "Vehicle expert perk".

Here is the translated description for what the special edition will feature:

The Special Edition includes an additional single-player mission, namely the Breakthrough Mission Pack:

There is secret meeting going on. The Chicago Club does power negotiations with CEOs of large companies. The club has hired scramblers to block. Monitoring devices Race through the city to find the scramblers and take them out. Grab all the names of those attending the meeting and upload their photographs for the rest of the world.

After completing the mission you get the Vehicle Expert perk: Get free vehicles through your Underground Car Contact and get discounts on exclusive cars.

While I can't confirm at this time what form this special edition will take, a first run or pre-order bonus or an alternate version of the game sold with a higher price point, a perk and a singular mission seems a bit small for a fully standalone special edition. As such, if I had to guess, I'd say that this will be a pre-order bonus in some way, shape, or form.

It looks as though the newest installment in the incredibly popular Call of Duty franchise is going to be unveiled on May 1st, according to some photos IGN received of a Gamestop display blueprint. It's worth noting that the official announcement for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 fell on the same date last year.

Just a few days ago, there was also a rumor circulating that the next game in the franchise would be entitled Call of Duty: Ghosts; given that the date of the official reveal and the date the rumor started circulating are so close together, it's very possible that the rumored title, Ghosts, will end up being the official title.

The PS4 had a somewhat controversial reveal back in February. Its large array of social features have caused a lot of debate, and the several teaser trailers which debuted with it have excited some and evoked skepticism in others. I have a feeling this bit of news will do the same; the PS4's lead system architect Mark Cerny has stated that the PS4's launch titles are "going to be stronger than any prior PlayStation hardware." Cerny cites similarities between the architecture of the PS4 and a PC as the catalyst behind the strong launch lineup. 

The reasoning being that it takes much less time to port a game between two platforms with similar system architecture, as is apparently the case with the PS4 and PC, than it does when the platforms have very different 'guts,' so to speak, which was the case with the PS3 and PC.

So what's your reaction? Is this a sincere statement about a console with a very promising release? Or is it just a bunch of buzz words?

Batman: Arkham Origins, the third entry in the well received Arkham series, will have multiplayer. The title will be released at October 25th, and will introduce us to the Dark Knight in the early years of his crime fighting career. It will be the first in the series to have multiplayer, and if the source is correct, you will play as a member of Joker or Bane's gang trying to take Batman and Robin out.

More after the jump.

Grand Theft Auto V was announced by Rockstar and Take-Two over a year ago, and the game has built up quite the buzz. Another entry in a stellar series is always good, but GTA games are very spread out and Rockstar takes their sweet, sweet time with each main entry in the series. Grand Theft Auto V is a force to be reckoned with, and a game to be excited for. However, the game was only announced for the PS3 and Xbox 360, locking Wii U and PC owners out of the party, while also making potential next-gen consumers reconsider their decision of purchasing the game or another console, due to a lack of backward compatibility. Take-Two initially stuck to their decision of sticking to the two HD consoles, but they may have reconsidered according to this new rumor.

Rockstar is holding an investor meeting on May 16th, and gossip is flying around the internet saying the company might unveil ports for the Wii U, PC, PS4, and/or Microsoft's next console. InEntertainment claims we'll see many ports for the game on other systems, but they will not share the release date with the PS3/360 version of the game, as resources will need to focus on those versions after the release.

I don't buy into this rumor. Take-Two's president has shot down any rumors that GTA V would be going anywhere other than the PS3/360, but you never know. I would love to see GTA V come to Wii U or PC. Please deliver Take-Two.

What do you think? Do you buy the rumors? Sound off in the comments.

Shinji Mikami’s, founder of the Resident Evil series, studio Tango Gameworks has unveiled an all new survival horror game titled 'The Evil Within'. Tango Gameworks is under control of Bethesda, who has formed a habit of producing against the grain AAA experiences that many experts keep saying that consumers no longer want (Single player only experiences, games that don't push the boundaries of graphical fidelity, new IP's, etc). Of course, we all know almost every game they release is not only a great experience, it sells well, and in the case of some games it sells 10's of millions.

What's nice about this new game is that it doesn't appear to feature anything resembling a Zombie, which is refreshing for survival horror fans. That sad part is we don't see any gameplay in the above trailer. I'm always of mind that yes, Live Action trailers work well for things like commercials, but when you debut a game we actually want to see... the game. Otherwise, what's the point?

Currently, The Evil Within is slated for release on PS3, 360, PC, and next generation consoles in 2014. Nintendo fans may want to cross their fingers for some Wii U support. Bethesda hasn't completely written off the possibility of Wii U games... yet. FYI, we hope you're not watching this trailer before eating lunch today. It can be stomach turning for some... but then again, that's what survival horror is all about.

Many a Nintendo fan has run around over the years, especially during the Wii era, proudly saying graphics aren't everything. Most don't deny that stylized realism in graphical fidelity is indeed nice to look at depending on the game, but many games we have seen over the last handful of years seemed to expect to sell simply because of how the game "looked". This is despite the fact that while choosing a specific graphical style may indeed equal more sales, how pretty that style looks doesn't necessarily mean the game is going to sell.

Some call this the Call of Duty effect - where every game is trying to be the biggest game out there, but that title already exists, and it's foolish to think your title is going to be "that" title. Yes, Call of Duty is generally well made, but it's budget is also extremely modest. Yes, it costs less to make Call of Duty: Black Ops II than it did Tomb Raider, and let me ask you: Which game sold infinitely better? If high budgets meant high sales, we would see that. Expect it doesn't, Conversely, High Review Scores on Metacritic also don't equal high sales (Psychonauts, anyone?). Heck, Epic Mickey got rather "meh" scores, but it sold pretty well... well enough to get a rather piss poor sequel. More inside.

Both of these terms are important aspects to many video games, and have been almost since the dawn of gaming itself. Violence, in one way or another, is ever present in most of the games we play. Be it Mario stomping out Goombas, Link attacking well... anything, or killing virtual people in games like Call of Duty: Violence is an ever present part of the video game culture that we all enjoy on various levels.

Another intricate and ever more present aspect is story. It drives players to want to complete certain tasks, it gives motivation, and more importantly it can touch us on a personal level in a way that sometimes can't be conveyed in a movie.

Neither one of these aspects is required to create a compelling experience – as an example, something as simple as Minecraft is technically a video game and it doesn't rely on violence or story in order to create a fantastic product.